Andrew Haigh’s Weekend

Andrew Haight’s Weekend dares to take verisimilitude as its subject. What is the reality of a romance contained to one weekend? What are its looks? What are its conversations? What are its confessions? What are its the arguments? What is its sex? Weekend answers these questions without panache, irony, or embrace. It looks you headlong from its window in the apartment building across the alley, smiles, then continues onto its kitchen to taste the pasta sauce it is making for dinner, barely remembering you.

The movie does not employ a locked room scenario—a snowbound cabin, an island vacation, an elevator malfunction, a sniper poised to shoot your telephone booth, etc. The two men live in this city, know this city. Either one can leave the other at any time. This is the danger we feel as we experience their courtship. There is no landscape to contain them. From time to time, the camera works hard (perhaps a bit too hard) to remind us of this fact, observing from a vantage point that illustrates all the empty space framing the couple. The melancholy is not overwhelming. No movie will be rejected by its audience when each and every scene is a possible occasion for sex.

Time rules the mechanism of the movie, yet it is the movie’s most artificial element. We know one weekend can easily comprise a two hour movie. We believe it. We know it. There is nothing we can’t believe. The actors rehearsed for months. The actors are improv artists. The actors are real life lovers. The actors are straight. These are all possibilities within the spectrum of current movie going experience. These possibilities no longer shock us, though we would like to know, one way or the other. This is the kind of arty thinking done by the character Glen that is a little annoying, but we accept it; it is okay because we love him as his new lover Russ loves him.

This is Russ’ movie more than Glen’s. Russ is the more attractive one, who thinks he is the less attractive one. We are over Russ’ shoulder. We follow Russ into the bathroom for a bath, to his job as a city lifeguard, to his goddaughter’s birthday party. When he and Glen have an argument, we follow Russ into retreat, where we see him recoup in silence. The movie places Russ in rare dramatic territory: when a gay man is comfortably out and has achieved a level of peace in both his private and public life, what is his life? What continues to contribute to his loneliness? One more ridiculously basic question this movie dares to take on.

There are several points in following Russ that the movie could abandon its project of reality and enter into a romantic haze: the morning after scene, the night of fun and drugs, the confessions of personal history, the goodbye at the train station. These scenes contain the possibility of transitioning into montage at any moment, cue majestic atonal score. Weekend has no score. Its music is diegetic, as well as its drama. Andrew Haight knows that love is an act as well as an emotion. There is danger to anything that can only be manifested as an act, and Russ and Glen are too aware of this, yet love generously, the best they are able to, for as long as they are able to. Andrew Haight makes sure you witness all the angles of their love. Andrew Haight has made the romance of the year, possibly of his generation. Weekend is worth every one of your $12.

If you don’t live in LA/NY and can’t catch this marvel, some acceptable replacements:

  • Before Sunset
  • It Happened One Night
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Tower Heist

Let’s start with a list of what Tower Heist is not.  Tower Heist is not:
– an Italian Job/Fast Five/Ocean’s Eleven type thriller
– a raunchy funny comedy like Bridesmaids, or that funny at all
– an award winning film on any level

Tower Heist does have:
– current relevant material (it’s about a bunch of working class folk getting duped by a douchebag billionaire into a Ponzi scheme)
– a stellar supporting cast (Gabourey Sidibe with a Jamaican accent, where can I see MORE MORE of you?!, Eddie Murphy, GADS how I’ve missed you, Tea Leoni, you always surprise me by how freaking likeable and adorable you are)
– a ridiculous plot and premise, that is so laughably ludricrous

Things I could do without:
Ben Stiller. I have seen too much of you, and you are boring and ugly. I am tired of looking at your pushover face and seeing you furrow your catepillar brows.  Go away.
– Matthew Broderick. You were so adorable, funny and cute when you were young. That does not translate into middle age, unfortunately. You just seem sad, very very sad and you depress me.

Tower Heist felt like a sequel to a very funny film, in the sense that the humor was too safe, and mostly toed or overstepped the line into just not being all that funny.  In the end, not as many laughs as I would have liked, only a few thrills, but in general, good if you just want to make your mind melt for a couple of hours…$6

If you heart Tower Heist:

Recommendations by …
Meet the Fockers
Beverly Hills Cop
Oceans Twelve

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